That image you see on the left is from Eleanor Roosevelt's FBI files. If you click on it and are able to read the small print, you'll have read the short version of what I'm blogging about.
The FBI had over 3,900 pages of files on Eleanor Roosevelt, forced free by the Freedom of Information Act. This is one of the largest collection of files ever made by the FBI on an American citizen, let alone a First Lady. These files were compiled by the FBI, mostly at the behest of what we now know was a detestable little cross-dressing creature, known as J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover ran the FBI, like a dictator, from its founding, in 1935, til his death in 1972.
Hoover was able to last at his position through President after President, til he met his match in Nixon, by compiling dossiers of info on anyone he wanted to have influence over. Presidents were sort of scared of J. Edgar Hoover. And with good reason.
I just finished a book called Roosevelt's Secret War, by Joseph E Persico. FDR did not care for J. Edgar. But he found him useful.
Eleanor Roosevelt befriended a young man named Joe Lash, who was 25 years her junior. There were no allegations of anything improper in this relationship. Til J. Edgar saw an opportunity. The First Lady and Joe Lash were in Chicago at a hotel. They stayed in adjoining rooms. The FBI had Joe Lash under surveillance, I don't remember why. A lot of people were watched by the FBI during WWII. Sort of like what goes on now, during our less sensible war, under our less sensible President.
So. J. Edgar had those hotel rooms bugged. J. Edgar heard something useful to his purposes, recorded from that hotel room. He felt he had to get the info to the President somehow, in a way that sort of kept his hands clean. J. Edgar had had clashes with the First Lady. She was on his enemies list.
So, a report found its way to the President which contained the info that a microphone planted in the room had recorded the clear indication that Mrs. Roosevelt and Lash engaged in sexual intercourse during their hotel stay. Mrs. Roosevelt was called into the conference, confronted with the charge, which resulted in a terrific fight between the President and Mrs. Roosevelt.
FDR sent orders to have Lash sent outside the United States within 10 hours.
Now. Here's the bad part. What really happened was J. Edgar's microphones had caught Joe Lash making whoopee with a married lady, 2 weeks after he'd been in that hotel with Mrs. Roosevelt.
Nothing untoward was recorded between Mrs. Roosevelt and Mr. Lash. It is believed J. Edgar Hoover was fully aware of the truth. But saw an opportunity to do some dirty manipulating.
To what gain, I can't fathom. J. Edgar Hoover kept these secret files in his possession til his death. I don't know if the goal for his little dirty trick was to make Mrs. Roosevelt think he was a powerful foe, not to be crossed. Or if it was to ingratiate himself, somehow, with FDR. Or both.
Who knows? But, what I found interesting is our nation has always seemed to be quite a roller coaster of dicey doings that aren't pretty at times.
J. Edgar Hoover was one twisted sister.